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   Vol. 18 No. 32
Friday May 3, 2019

TWA Constellation Is A Piston Pounder

TWA Constellation
     A very popular aircraft from the 1950s and early 1960s has ended up as a restaurant, and often as a bar at several locations in USA. Usually perched on a concrete buttress, is all or part of a Lockheed Constellation.
     The aircraft was first operated by TWA, when Howard Hughes owned the airline, and later by all the airlines, including Pan Am, Lufthansa, Air France and many others.
     When Ralph Damon headed up TWA, it was the Lockheed Constellation, which served flights in and out of TWA’s “butterfly” poured concrete building designed by Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen at Idlewild Airport, today known as JFK International Airport.
     Now an elegant Lockheed Constellation or at least part of one has returned to JFK International to sit mounted somewhere near the Saarinen TWA building to serve as (what else?) a bar.
     Richly painted in TWA colors the tube minus wings, engines and tail was ballyhooed through Times Square in Manhattan en route to JFK recently.
     But apparently someone forgot to do their homework as the now dormant aircraft was continually referred to in media reports as a “jet”.
     Of course the Howard Hughes inspired Lockheed Constellation was /is a piston pounder!
The Lockheed is also maybe the most beautiful airplane ever built.
     So now the new 500 plus room hotel at JFK International Airport attached to the iconic TWA “Butterfly” with the Lockheed “Connie” sitting like a cherry on top, opens for business May 15.
     Although Saarinen died before his JFK International Airport masterpiece building debuted (other examples of his work include Dulles Airport & the Jefferson Arch in St. Louis), the Saarinen name is being flouted all over the new hotel in an attempt to create a chic destination.
     Lots of luck, we say.
     To look at it, it all seems like an overcrowded jumble, as the original, breathtakingly beautiful TWA Building and a 500-room hotel sit squeezed together astride the Jet Blue airline passenger terminal, the roadway and a huge vista-obliterating parking garage.
     Despite not being able to enjoy the views, once apparent at TWA JFK, (except if you are in the new hotel looking out), good to report that JFK in 2019 has an on airport hotel that “soft opens” for business May 15 at an average cost of USD$240 per night.
     Yes, at last check there are still some rooms available.
     It is worth noting, in addition to living in an era in which apparently airport hotel people cannot get their airplanes straight, the other on airport JFK hotel, the empty and somewhat forlorn, once upon a time beautiful and iconic International Hotel, has sat empty at the Van Wyck Expressway entrance to JFK for the best part of the last two decades.
     Today, the International Hotel, which welcomed not only Neil Armstrong back from the moon at the Bishop Wright Protestant Chapel Award Dinner, but also World War II hero Jimmy Doolittle, sits as a muted, lone sentinel to a bygone era.
     Talk about not seeing something right under your nose.
     How did the hotel industry and airport operator manage to overlook this place with lots of parking and open space as the natural location to either do an adaptive reuse, restoration or even rebuild?
     Today, John F. Kennedy International Airport, the air field dreamed up by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in 1942 to ease congested LaGuardia Airport 12 miles away, despite the glitz of a new hotel in the dense, overcrowded airport ring of buildings, otherwise is by and large, an embarrassment.
     The hope is that the JFK Air Cargo Association, KAAMCO, JFK Airport Chamber of Commerce and others will take advantage of the meeting rooms and dining options the TWA Hotel will offer.
     So far these groups, without a truly world class facility on airport, meet at places like Russo’s On The Bay, located off airport in Howard Beach, and at other hotels and function halls near the airport.
     Might be nice, despite the traffic din of the on airport experience, to once more be able to say “Meet Me At TWA!”

TWA Building, JFK Airport and IM Pei National Building, JFK

  When it comes to spotlighting exceptional airport buildings, why did The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey allow I.M. Pei’s exquisite Aviodrome, an acknowledged masterpiece of 1960s art & architecture, fall under the wrecker’s ball in 2010 despite widespread loud and vocal protest? More here.
  Too much of a good thing?
  In this case, too much was not enough!
  When we think back on it, how lucky were we to be able to save the Marine Air Terminal, LaGuardia Airport, New York and Building One, Newark International Airport, New Jersey—historic first-generation aviation buildings.

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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FT042219Vol. 18 No. 29
Supermarket In The Sky
Chuckles for April 22, 2019
Celebrating Earth Day 2019
FT042419Vol. 18 No. 30
Air Cargo Is About People
Chuckles for April 24, 2019
Go Go Guillaume
Brandon Gets It
AFKLMP Change & Forwarders Cheer

FT050119Vol. 18 No. 31
Boeing Pledges MAX Safety
Reimagine Awards As More Rewarding
JFK Cargo Gets A Pulse

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